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The "for sale" signs at Dunedin's Carisbrook Stadium may soon be replaced with "sold" signs, after a deadline on offers at the weekend resulted in four possible new owners for the House of Pain.
Dunedin City Council property manager Robert Clark described the parties as showing "reasonably strong interest" in the ground, and said having four was "without doubt" helpful to develop a competitive environment.
A fifth offer has been tabled for the neighbouring car park.
Mr Clark was yesterday quietly confident the $7 million the council paid the Otago Rugby Football Union for the land could be recouped.
Two of the potential buyers are from Dunedin, one from further north, and one from the North Island.
Mr Clark expected the negotiations would take about two months.
The March 23 date was not a tender deadline, but a deadline for offers.
The process was similar to a tender, but more flexible.
"We haven't got transactions completed, but we have got four parties showing reasonably strong interest," Mr Clark said.
"We are working with all of those parties to get a result.
"I believe with a bit of work we will get an outcome that suits everybody."
All the parties had different interests, and different ideas for the property.
"We need to look at the best outcome for Dunedin."
When the council took over Carisbrook six months ago, it indicated the unused ground would cost the city more than $400,000 a year.
The council announced in April last year it had decided to sell the ground, which was no longer needed, following construction of the Forsyth Barr Stadium.
The council paid $6 million for the stadium and neighbouring car park, and $1 million for eight properties in Burns St, six of which were sold last year.
It emerged recently $7 million was not enough to pay all the debts the ORFU, which recently came close to liquidation, had accrued.
The job of selling the industrial-zoned, 30,000sq m stadium, and the 5000sq m car park, was given to property consultant Colliers International New Zealand.
Stephen Cairns, who was chairman of the Otago Regional Council when it voted to go ahead with the new stadium, and is a principal of Colliers International in Dunedin, is marketing the property with colleagues.
In its advertising, Colliers describes the site: "location, profile, freehold tenure, large site area combined with significant existing improvements create a magnificent property offering and development opportunity".
Prices of between $200 and $300 a sq m were suggested in real-estate proposals before the contract was given to Colliers, which would result in a return of between $6 million and $9 million.
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust has category-one protection for the playing field and the single-storey turnstile building below the Neville St Stand.
Mr Cairns said, when contacted at the weekend, information about the matter had to come from the council.